The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to present Junko Chodos: A Passionate Witness. The exhibition is intended both as a focused view of the artist’s most expressive work in painting and collage, and as an acknowledgment that discovery and vision issue from gestation.
The inner landscape of this artist is conditioned by growing up in war-torn Japan and is articulated by the cross-over of two cultural realms. One here-and-now, the other, then-and-there: Western and Eastern, each present, each interchangeably overlapping the other. To characterize the work of Junko Chodos, one could say that it is narrative and purports to speak in utterances and sutras. The painted pieces are gestural, intending us to feel the compelling forces that flowed through the artist’s hands. Or that there is history in the work, comprised of marks that signify, always pointing to a febrile shock encounter — apocalypse.
Yet, Chodos asks us to go beyond chaos with her, beyond the trauma of life’s crises, and to awaken into awareness. Her work is integrated into a process whereby it affirms her having been witness to the forces of life. She asks only for redemption. Growing up in war-time has profound influence over Chodos’ developing perception of the world. Contrary to her family’s wishes and their resistance to her becoming an artist, Chodos chose to express her feelings and awarenesses in art. She left Japan for California in the 1960s; referring to herself as a “spiritual refugee,” she was determined to succeed in an arduous search for self-identity, healing, and spiritual freedom.
— Ken Bloom, Executive Director